It’s no surprise to anyone that polluted air is not good for you. But what may come as a shock is the sheer number of people suffering health consequences from that exposure. A new global air quality model released by the World Health Organization (WHO) reveals that over 92% of the world’s population are breathing air that has been contaminated with particulate matter. Particulate matter is comprised of ultra-fine particles of sulphates, nitrates, and black carbon which penetrate deeply into the lungs and bloodstream. These pollutants can have health consequences ranging from shortness of breath and asthma to heart disease, strokes, and lung cancer. The 6.76 billion people cited in the study live in areas where the amount of particulate matter is above WHO air quality limits.
So what does that mean? Exposure to air pollution, including particulate matter, results in an estimated 6.5 million deaths each year. While most of the deaths occur in China, India, and developing countries, that doesn’t mean that the Western world is safe. Major cities in the United States, including New York and Los Angeles, also fail to meet WHO air quality standards. Study leader Dr. Gavin Shaddick of the University of Bath states, “Globally, air pollution presents a major risk to public health. A substantial number of lives could be saved if levels of air pollution were reduced.” To learn more, visit the World Health Organization’s interactive map of the model.
Click here to watch a video about the clinically proven way to protect the body from air pollution which causes free radical damage and elevates oxidative stress.
Image courtesy of NASA.